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INVOLUNTARY CONVERSION

JEANNE C. FINLEY (UNITED STATES 1991, 9:00 MINS.)

In a time of “permanent pre-hostility”(peace) where an “energetic disassembly”(nuclear explosion) is imminent, a disembodied speaker who could be a hypnotist or a government spokesman talks about terror as a form of new government and a series of events that hint at an impending disaster. The iconic image of a fighter jet floating in the sky lends a video game-feel to the footage.The texture of television is used to make the images feel domestic and familiar. This apocalyptic linguistic comedy meditates on the relationship between language, meaning and social decay and is scripted from “double-speak” language found in a variety of media sources. Drawing its title from the Pentagon’s term for crash, Involuntary Conversion evokes the hollowness and free-floating anxiety that characterizes late 20th century culture. The mood is suspended somewhere between nightmare and deadpan and is propelled by a narrative as enigmatic as the language it exposes. This video is a revealing look at bureaucratic techno-speak decoded by Finley against a slow-motion collage of military imagery.

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